Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Christ will be satisfied with him alone, I proposed the que ftion to myself, Art thou content of Christ alone ? would thou be satisfied with Christ as thy portion, tho' there were no hell to be saved from ? and my soul answered, Yes. I asked myself further, Suppofing that, wouldst thou be content of him, though likewise thou shouldst lose credit and reputation, and meet with trouble for his fake? My soul answered, Yes. Such is my hatred of fin, and my love to Christ. This was the lait sermon I preached in that place, for I was going out of that country ; and neither of us two was the person God designed for the place.

On the 30th I preached at Dollar. The work being closed, thinking with myself, while yet in the pulpit, that might be the last of my preaching there, as it indeed proved to be, with my eyes lifted up towards heaven, I looked unto the Lord, comforting myself, that I had declared to that people the whole counsel of God, as he had given it me; the which was sweeter to me than their stipend would have been, got by following fome advices given me as above mentioned. I lodged in the house of Simon Drysdale, who regretted the presbytery's untenderness in their cafe ; and on the morrow came to me James Kirk, with other three of the elders, who shewed their concern on the account of my departure, and withal their continued resolution to prosecute the design of my settlement among thein, still regretting the presbytery's flipping the occafion that was in their hands, and thewing that their two neighbouring ministers, on the west and east, were and had been their enemies in the delign. The fame week Mr Turnbull told me, that the presbytery might, and, if they would take his advice, should go on, withal complaining somewhat of them in the matter; so that by him, as well as the people, the blame of the marring of that fettlement, fo far, was laid at their door. Perhaps the trouble they had by Mr Mair, in Airth, on the strict fide, made them the more wary as to me, though I never entertained feparating principles.

I had the comfort of the testimony of judicious Christians, that my work in that country, and particularly in that parish, was not in vain in the Lord ; and found from several perfons, that the Lord had made the word in my mouth to reach their own case, and to be a difcerner of the thoughts of their hearts. The fame which, it seems, fell out in the case of some others, who knew not so well how the word was directed ; whereof a judicious Christian gave me this instance, namely, that discoursing with a certain man in Dollar, whom he knew to be of a violent disposition against Presbyterian preachers, and expected accordingly to find ruffled by the fermons on the faft-day; he, on the contrary, found him to thew a liking of me, especially by reason of these sermons, for that they had let him fee things to be fin, which he never thought before had been fo. Moreover, he said, I had great skill, and told things strangely, even some things which he thought no body knew, and that he wondered who could tell me, and that if William (his son I fuppose) had been any way abroad, he would have thought he had told me. His wife signified, that some of the parish faid, I had more wit than my own. These things were encouraging to me, as they discovered the character of the Lord's word in my preaching, namely, that it is “ a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

May 3. The presbytery granted me testimonials, I promifing to satisfy them if they should write for me, probable grounds of encouragement appearing: and they appointed a minister to preach at Dollar on the Sabbath was zwenty days, and, on the Tuesday following, to moderate in a call there. On the 8th I took my journey, having had an affecting parting with several Christian friends : and truly it was no small part of my grief, if not the greatest, to leave some serious souls, whom God had made me an instrument of good to, and to whose prayers I doubt not but I was obliged. I came that day to Barhill, where, upon some event or other I cannot now find, I thought I saw an end of all perfection, and that nothing was fatisfying without Chrift. I think it has been, that having my friend to part with, added to the weight on me in leaving that country. However it was, the impression lasted with me many days thereafter. On the morrow I went to Edinburgh, and the day following got home to Dunfe; which, when I saw it, was terrible unto me, my inclination not being towards that country; but thither the Lord led me unto the bounds of my habitation before appointed.

PEPERIOD vi.

From my return unto the Merse, to my ordination to the holy

ministry at Simprin.

B Eing thus returned home again, I had no occafion to

go out of the town above a mile, until four Sabbaths were paft; and during that time, in the end of May and beginning of June, the thoughts of my uselessness were very heavy to me ; which put me to beg of God an opportunity to serve him, whatever pains it should cost me to accomplish it. Howbeit I was not_altogether idle on Lord's days, being employed mostly in Dunse, and once in Langton.

While this lay upon me as the main weight, I found myself beset with several other difficulties.

The unacquaintedness of most of my friends with religion was grievous, and made their conversation, but uncomfortable; but my eldest brother Andrew, being a judicious man; and of experience in religion, was often refrethful to me. I had no heart to visit the ministers, knowing none of them I could unbosom myself to,

save Mr Colden at Dunfe, and Mr Dyfert at Coldingham. The binding at my breast had returned, and I was seized with pains in my back; and in the hinder part of my head, so that I began to apprehend my time in the world might not be long; and on that occasion I found I had some evidences for the better world, and was somewhat submissive to the divine dispofal, in the case as it appeared. Withal the confideration of the case of the land was heavy on me, and I had a sorry prospect of what might be to come, so that I juda ged them happy, who, having done their work in the vineyard, were called home, and not made to see the difa honour done to God amongst us. Wherefore I was desirous to be out of my native country again, and wished for a providential relief But by a letter from a friend, thew: ing that the butinefs of Dollar was like to succeed, I found that I behoved to continue yet a while where I was on the account thereof.

It now lay beavy on my spirit at several times, as above noticed, that I was cast out of a corner, in which the Lord was pleased to make use of me, and own me with

fome

fome fuccess in his work, into another corner where I had nothing to do. This occafioned variety of perplexing thoughts. I inquired what might be the Lord's end in it, and nothing doubted but that I was called to leave that place, from whence I came May 25. in prayer it was fuggefted to me, that God had so dealt with me, for my former levity, and misimproving his help given me in preaching; for which I endeavoured to be humble. On the 26th, I had engaged to lecture next Sabbath for Me Colden. Finding my heart disposed for prayer, light from the Lord in two or three particulars was much in my eye. In prayer I had a frame from the Lord, serious, earnest, depending, bare, and laid open to hearken to the counsel of God. Before I came to pray for what I should lecture on, my heart was raised to an admiration of, and love to Christ, and desire to cominend him; and it was laid before me as my duty to lecture on Psal. xlv. and this with life and elevation of my fpirit, which continued with me when I prayed for the lecture. Thinking on this after prayer, I began to fufpect that light; because it came before I had prayed for it, expressly at least. But confidering that I went to God for light in it, and confidering that passage, If. lxv. 24. and finding my inclination to commend Christ remain, I was satisfied. There was a second point in my eye, which still remained dark; and therefore I went back purposely to God for it. I found my heart in prayer much going out in love to Christ; my heart was knit to him as the dearly beloved of my soul ; which made me to express my love to Christ, pot in an ordinary way, as I use to do. I was helped to depend, and got strength to my heart to wait for light in it. And the nature of it was such, that it might bear a delay. As for the third point, it was not ripe, and I could but cable it before the Lord. The Lord was not wanting to me in the delivery of that lecture.

In the mean time, my settling in Simprin had been first moved to me on May 19. in Mr Colden's house, by his wife, in his presence ; and that, till another occasion fhould offer. He seemed to me not to have confidence directly to propose it; but told me, the stipend was five chalders of victual, and 80 merks. But as I never durft entertain the thoughts of settling with such a design, I ihewed that I had no mind to engage with any but such as I might continue with. Thinking afterwards on these

1

things by myself, I found no great unwillingness to venture on the stipend ; the rather, that my father having difponed his interest in Dunfe to me, I reckoned I would have about L. 100 Scots yearly there : but the people being only about ninety in number, and in a quite other fituation than the parish of Abbay, I found I could have no heart to them. On the 26th again, Mr Colden proposed to me, that if I would settle there, he would write for that effect to Langton, to whom the parish entirely belonged. I told him, that for me to say fo, would be to cut off all future deliberation, which was what I had no freedom to do : the which he acknowledged to be true, and therefore urged me not. That worthy man was indeed concerned for me, and told me, he was persuaded God had thoughts of good towards me; and that, notwithstanding all the difficulties that had cast up in the way of my settlement, the event would be to the glory of God, and comfortable to myself. And therein he was not mistaken. In this his concern for me, he took me to Coldingham, June 8. to see Mr. Dysert, who formerly had been minister of Langton. There they concerted to move for that settlement; and in consequence thereof Mr Dysert wrote to the elders of Simprin, for that effect, And judging the matter might eafily be compaffed, they told me that I might be settled in Simprin, if I would. But having heard them speak of the vacancies in Galloway, and that I particularly was defired by some there, I thereupon found an inclination to go to that country, if I should not be called back for Dollar. The letter to the elders of Şimprin, as aforesaid, was unadvisedly put in my hand to dispatch ; which I, not having confidence, it seems, to refuse it, did receive : but it was never delivered, for afterwards I tore it in pieces. And this their conduct could hardly have had a different issue, according to the principles by which 1 steered my course, that justly made all activity in procuring my own settlement frightful to me.

The bent of my heart to preach Christ continued all along, from the time above mentioned, as I had opportunity : but for a confiderable time I met with many rubs in my way. On the 2d of June, after prayer for a text, and help to study, I could fix on none, though I fought it till my body was weary, and my spirit much dejected. Next morning my darkness remained, and nothing could gain clearness to me. Thus my heart being dejected through I

defertione

« AnteriorContinuar »